18 Feb 2022 -

Asset-tracking – a vital role in rail management

Digital transformation is helping the rail industry to improve efficiency, productivity, and growth, as well as tackling some of the biggest challenges like infrastructure efficiency, energy management, and natural resource reduction.

Within the digital-transformation toolbox, rail and network operators are increasingly turning to asset tracking techniques, with projections suggesting the global rail asset-management market will be worth $12.6 billion by 2025.

Asset management solutions can help rail operators, infrastructure managers, and freight services to optimise performance, lower failure rates, and reduce delays, creating a more cost-effective, reliable, and punctual service that helps to elevate the rail industry. The solutions further help reduce operational costs of infrastructure assets, such as signals, electrification systems, rail tracks, and rolling stock.

SALUS – The asset tracking solution from Astute Electronics 

Existing asset tracking solutions are failing to deliver key market drivers: cost, power, accuracy, and flexibility, especially in indoor environments. SALUS is a technologically ground-breaking solution suitable for any industry where it’s imperative to monitor equipment, devices – even people – across a wide area to understand their behaviour.

What is SALUS? 

SALUS stands for Serviceable Asset Location & Utilisation System which in everyday terms means it can track and report on the location, status, and condition of assets both indoors and outdoors on the same network. Since its radio signals pass quickly and securely across great distances, there’s the possibility to track assets across very large sites covering different depots, tracks and buildings infrastructure. 

How does the technology work? 

SALUS monitors the location of devices (tags) in a radio network defined by fixed positioning anchors. When each tag moves through the radio network, its distance to each anchor is measured. By triangulating measurements from three anchors, it is possible to determine the tag location in space. All the devices are robust and low power, requiring very little maintenance or installation overheads. 

Figure 1: SALUS System Overview 


Figure 2. Wearable tag (other forms are available) and anchors Figure 3. Tag and gateway 

Measurable efficiency benefits for the rail industry

Asset tracking can play a vital role in rail management to drive informed decisions which deliver significant operational and productivity benefits, from condition monitoring and energy management studies to freight tracking and asset security.

Tracking of inventory is one of the most important parts of the rail industry. Inventory may include engines, cars, bogies, welding stations, lifting gear etc. When inventory is not available in stock, in good condition or is difficult to locate, it results in decreased productivity, business loss, and a failure to deliver on time. Railway industry assets come in all sizes, and which adds to the complexity. SALUS can then be customised to a customer’s specific requirement to track and report on the assets and equipment held within their enterprise.

Rail maintenance is also crucially important. A train runs fast, carries a huge weight, and has thousands of moving parts. It requires a lot of energy; hence it needs frequent maintenance. Over maintenance not only wastes money but can also decrease the lifespan of an asset; under-maintenance can prompt diminished efficiency. SALUS asset tracking can help the rail operators make predictive maintenance decisions when assets show the very early signs of underperformance.

We know that for the rail industry, identifying and locating assets that require planned preventative maintenance is the most important activity, with the possibility that any errors could lead to tragic events and even loss of life. Asset tracking provides a systematic approach for the management of rail assets, helping to drive towards best practice and compliance.

Watch the video or book a demo here

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